February 21st is International Mother Language Day! Celebrated since 1999 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)  in an effort to preserve all languages in the world, it’s a great day to recognize the beauty and power of Arabic language here in Egypt. February 21st was particularly chosen to commemorate Pakistani students who were killed in 1952 while protesting for recognition of their mother tongue. It was recognized that while languages can be a tool for promoting divisions and disempowerment, they can also be used to promote diversity, multiculturalism and understanding between different peoples.

Knowledge of one’s Mother Language is not just essential for linguistic and conversational purposes, but also for a deeper connection with one’s culture, people and identity. Arabic, for example, strengthens our relationship with an ancient history, our religions and our longstanding cultural traditions. Imagine not getting Arabic humor, or not understanding an Arabic proverb!

Being bi or multi lingual is a skill to honor, but it doesn’t have to come at the price of forgetting or abandoning your mother tongue. We at The Daily Crisp believe in the importance of building a healthy and knowledgeable relationship with our country’s mother language of Arabic, across all generations now and to come.

There are a few helpful things to get you working on your Arabic and strengthening that relationship in honor of International Mother Language Day. Get your grammar straight and write Arabic right, attend an event in Arabic like El Sawy’s 13th Anniversary Party, buy your child a new book in Arabic, or take some quiet time to read for yourself. Also, to see what’s happening and trending for International Mother Language Day around the world, check out Twitter’s #IMLD, or UNESCO’s Facebook page with current updates. Let’s not let all the richness of the language go to waste!